I don't own Buffy or Anita Blake. I could never write something that magnificent. *Bows before creators*AN:
This is for my Dawn Graison challenge - 4840. I've reworked my own challenge to fit. *Bad Ashley!* Go check it out ... write me something!
I couldn't find any sites that gave a definite age for Nathaniel when he was infected except for late teens and that he was 19 when he meets Anita, though I think it was stated somewhere that he was 17 so that’s what I went with. Dawn is 14 when Gabriel finds them. That makes Dawn 16 at the end of this - not too young, certainly not by supernatural standards.
*giggle* I've just been dying to use this manip! I fell in love while I was making it and it's only gotten deeper.
Dawn was never sure why it happened, never sure why it was here but she guessed the Monks had laid in a clause for her protection. They were always working to protect her but to send her here, to send her to him?
The memories of her life with Buffy had swamped her one day. She guessed it was the day Buffy died and she'd been sent here. The time between dimensions must have run differently because she was older than she had been at the top of the tower.
She wondered if the others would come for her, if she could go to them but then the thought came that maybe they didn't remember her. Even if they did come or she found a way home there was nothing there for her anymore.
It was an odd thing to be older in an instant, to remember two lifetimes. However, Dawn didn't remember Nicky much. She had been too young or maybe her mind blocked out that part of her life but she did remember the night he died and she remembered that it was Nathaniel who had protected her - Nicky protected Nathaniel and Nathaniel protected her. It was just the way it was.
Nathaniel had protected her all the nights after that as well but there was no more Nicky to protect him. She'd had to watch as he was broken all in an effort to protect her. She remembered her childish vow to do anything for him, to keep him safe.FLASHBACK
Little Dawn heard the yelling, there was always yelling. Not-Daddy was always yelling and she tried not to think of the times when the harsh cracks - the sound of fists on flesh - were heard.
Dawn curled deeper into the pillow at the sound from downstairs escalated and the pounding of feet on the stairs reached her. Suddenly her Nathaniel was there and she launched herself from the bed. Her Nathaniel would protect her.
“Come on, Dawnie. We have to leave.” Nate spoke insistently as he scooped her out of the air and then they were flying back down the stairs. Nathaniel pushed her face into his chest and she felt the panting breaths and dry sobs.
“Nicky.” She felt more than heard Nathaniel say. Dawn struggled to raise her face but the hard grip Nathaniel had on her didn’t ease. Dawn was scared. She’d never heard sounds like that before. Not-Daddy usually stopped by now but the sounds were not the harsh cracks of flesh on flesh but of something harder and the screams of Nicky growing weaker.
“Go! Take Dawn and run.” She heard Nicky cry weakly and Dawn was jostled as Nathaniel began to run.
Dawn managed to turn her face even with the restraining hands and her last glimpse of the bad house was of Not-Daddy standing over Nicky. She saw his wide eyes connect with hers and the red tears staining his face before Not-Daddy brought the baseball bat down.-Time Skip-
Dawn huddled in the cardboard box watching Nathaniel work. She hated that he had to do this and it was even worse that he did it for her. If it was just him, maybe he could steal food and sleep where he could - even if he had to do ... this
without her, he could be choosy. He could pick those that wouldn't try to break him and that's what was happening. They were breaking him and he was starting to like it.
"I'll protect you." She whispered quietly into her knees. It was a promise she couldn't break, for to break it would mean the loss of Nathaniel.-Time Skip-
Then one night that all changed. 14 year old Dawn curled deeper into the wall, pulling her legs to her chest, red hair shielding her face. Something bad was coming and it would change everything.
She saw him walking regally through the street, looking at the boys and girls intently before bypassing them. His eyes locked on Nathaniel and Dawn realized the bad thing was him.
He introduced himself as Gabriel and he told them he could help Nathaniel. He wouldn't need to be an addict and Gabriel would protect them. Nathaniel agreed of course, the only thing Nathaniel had been stern about - the only thing he was
ever stern about anymore - was her. She had to be protected at all costs. He'd do anything for her.
And he had. Dawn had still been infected with the wereleopard virus but she'd been protected and allowed to grow and Nathaniel had had to pay for it with tears and pain.
Dawn had been what this world made her but with the sudden addition of Buffy's Dawn she'd been strong. She let Gabriel and Raina continue to believe she was submissive like her brother. Raina always threatening to put Dawn in her videos - that she’d be a star but if there was one thing that could be said about Gabriel it was that he kept his word - he may twist it as much as he could but the end results were always exactly as he said they would be. He always put his foot down when it came to her.
She hated them but she bottled it up. She wasn't ready yet. She wasn't strong enough.FLASHBACK END
As her thoughts wondered, Dawn felt the leopard rise inside her and clawed hands curled and flexed behind her back. Her old world didn't need her and she didn't need Buffy anymore - she needed Nathaniel and Nathaniel needed her.
Buffy had died to protect her and Nathaniel had protected her long enough; now, now it was Dawn's turn to be the protector. She was finally ready.
Dawn's tongue slid over kitty fangs, making sure to keep her face neutral, giving no hint of the attack that was coming as she lunged for Gabriel, clawed hands outstretched.
Soon she'd be Nimir-Ra and she'd protect Nathaniel and the pard. They were her family now and no one would ever hurt them again.Fin